Non Christians - Would you allow your toddler to be baptized?
MIL wants to baptize our 4 year old with her other 2 grandchildren. Part of me feels like it is no big deal since to me it means nothing more than her getting her head wet. Part of me hates it because they refer to the children as born sinners needing cleaned. My first thought is if my daughter wants to do this when she is old enough that would be much different. Mom in law does not know mine or my husbands personal beliefs. Would you do it just for the sake of keeping your child from feeling left out at the baptism of the other 2 and for the sake of making an amazing MIL feel good?
peeples....you have yourself a dilemma. What I've come to know of you, I can't help but believe, whatever you decide will be for the sake of everyone involved.
You say that it's not really a big deal to you and I understand this. Because I myself had a transformation as an adult, my second 2 sons were christened "for my mother's happiness & peace of mind." I really don't know that I'd have done this if not for her. It was important and like you, I had no serious objections.
The reality is though, that in no way were they raised in a "religion" of any sort. I did not want my children to be faced with my own confusion and issues as an adult. I was not given any options. This was something I wanted to avoid for my sons.
You say your MIL is "amazing," so it's clear you like her and get along. Her ancient beliefs about every precious, innocent child needing "cleansing" is something she really can't help. I'm sure you realize this.
I'm not going to advise you on this, peeples. As mothers, you and I both know what to do with and for our children, as well as family dynamics...that will result in the best results possible.....Peace, Paula
I love my MIL, and my daughter is young enough to maybe not remember it. Maybe getting it done now will avoid this coming up later. Very hard decision. I guess it doesn't hurt anyone, except my sanity. Thanks
Right! A family function complete with party couldn't possibly hurt anyone!! LOL
I'm curious about why you MIL doesn't know your personal beliefs.
It's not easy being a Jewish Atheist in the Bible belt. Actually if too many people know you aren't a Christian you likely will either be treated diff or looked at diff, especially if you only know extreme Christians.
If it gives your MIL peace of mind, I myself would do it, DID do it! (for my father-in-law. I think he died happier that way.) My mother sent me to Catholic schools. She wasn't Catholic. Guess who's ecclectic open-minded beliefs I'm closest to?
When my boys were born and family asked about Christenings I declined, but I did so in a respectful way and said that we prefer to allow our children to grow up and then make the choice for themselves. Every family is different and I really liked Paula's response to you. If it were me, I would not do it as it is not a part of who we are and I want my boys to know that it's ok to be whatever they choose to be. I can understand the desire to want to keep peace also and to not want to upset those you love and admire. In my mind I felt if I went through with it to make others happy it would be dishonest to all concerned. There are so many variables in families and this is truly only something you can decide. To your family though, this will be about much more than just a head wetting - something to bear in mind.
With the implication that they are already sinners, I'd probably be miffed enough and just say no.
Ultimately, I would say let them decide when they get older. First it will be let them get baptized, next its confirmation/bible school. Even with good relations with MIL, i dont really see a conversation where you outright decline going super well...
Irony aside, Might send a stronger message to her if the kids themselves actually decide rather than let someone else do it.
Although my son's father and I were raised Catholic, we didn't have our son baptized. As he grew older, he attended several churches until he found one he liked. He asked his pastor to baptize him, which he did. I believe in letting each person, including our children, choose the church that feels right for them. Religion is a very personal thing and should be a decision to be made by the human and God - not the parents or anyone else.
I haven't been to church in a very long time and my son has stopped going to church now that his pastor has moved out of state. I don't think going to church is necessary to have a relationship with God. God is everywhere, not just in a designated building.
I would not let my mother-in-law or anyone else talk me into baptizing my child. And I definitely wouldn't do it just to keep the peace. This is a personal decision that should be left up to your children when they're old enough to explore and make this most important decision on their own. They may not choose your religion or your mother-in-law's.
Introduce your children to God and keep Him alive in their hearts and minds. When they're old enough they'll get curious. Let them find their own way. It should be their choice and no one else's.
The way I see it children are born innocent. They learn to sin by watching the adults. Children are the epitome of innocence and don't need cleansing. I never did understand that point of view.
If she wants to be baptized when she's older, then that's fine, but I won't have it forced on her - particularly given we are not a religious family.
Blessings, on the other hand, I'm okay with - they seem to be a personal thing between the person and the person they are blessing - I think my daughter received a blessing from a colleague at 8 days old when I went back to work to introduce her to them (I think because it wasn't in english), and there are different cultural blessings in my country that are not religious.
I don't wish to force any religious beliefs on my daughter, or have them forced on her - if she is interested when she is older (she's a toddler as well), then I will support her quest to learn about religion/s regardless of my own religious (errrr, lack thereof actually) leanings.
It's up to you peeples - do you have to be at the baptism of the other two? Will your 4yr old understand what is happening? .
I dislike the "born sinners needing cleaning" angle, particularly when it comes to children. You have an interesting conundrum there.
Personally, I don't believe in baptizing children, however, my Catholic sis-in-law explained to me that it was a dedicating of my niece to God, and when she got older, she would make the decision when or if she wanted to follow through on a "real" baptism. My niece grew up to be a very intelligent young woman who has not forgotten her roots.
Now, having said that, it is different for a person to believe that a child should be baptized because he or she is "born a sinner". I would be prone to object to that. I don't like the idea of a child being raised in an atmosphere of guilt, regardless of how good a person my MIL is. If you choose to allow the children to be baptized, I would privately assure them that they are not "sinners" and that it is just a quirk of grandma's beliefs and that we love her and must respect her for that.
Sorry, I just now realized that you directed your question to non-Christians. I am not an atheist, but I have been called a "non-Christian" upon occasion
You are always welcome to answer any Q I post!! Thanks. I really don't like the born thing either. If she does have it we will for sure tell her this is for nana.
I believe if I allowed it, I would tell MIL she isn't to tell the children that they are sinners. Allowing the baptism is your compromise to her, and keeping her mouth closed is her compromise to you. But that's just my opinion.
I don't have children, but my mother-in-law is the kind of person that would baptize our children without our knowledge, if she had to. She already knows I'm an atheist, so she would feel it's her personal duty to 'save' our children. For this reason, if I have children, I will probably agree to it so I would have some semblance of control over the procedure. For example, opting for a more generic 'blessing' rather than a christian baptism.
It's offensive, not because she doesn't respect my beliefs, but because she would overstep my parenting and inflict something on my children. Yes, it's just water, but I don't think any mother or father would appreciate parenting of their children, behind their back. Which is why I would just agree to it up front, rather than getting mad at her later.
The real question is why would ANYONE want to baptizeva toddler. For a baptism (a confimation of one's own decision to be born again and follow Christ as a lifestyle) to be valid the person must make this coice for themselves. Baptizing a toddler is fruitless, foolish and against scripture.
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